Loading
Virginia State Police chaplains resign over ban on ‘Jesus’ words

.- At least five Virginia State Police chaplains have resigned after being told they must refrain from using words like "Jesus" and "Christ."

Superintendent W. Steven Flaherty, reportedly concerned about offending people of other faiths, directed the agency’s 17 chaplains to begin delivering neutral or nondenominational prayers at functions such as trooper graduation ceremonies and its annual memorial service for fallen officers, the Richmond Times-Dispatch says.

"The department recognizes the importance of a state government agency to be inclusive and respectful of the varied ethnicities, cultures and beliefs of our employees, their families and citizens at large," Flaherty said in a statement.

Flaherty cited as justification a recent ruling by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which upheld a Fredericksburg City Council ban on sectarian prayer. Flaherty’s office denied that Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine’s administration was behind the decision.

Five members of the state police’s 29-year-old chaplaincy corps have quit their ministries in protest. All of them being sworn officers, they remain on staff as such.

Rex Carter, one of the resigning chaplains, argued he should have the right to pray "how I believe, regardless of whether somebody agrees or not," saying "There's a fine line -- but it's a hard line -- between an individual's right to pray versus what is considered state-sponsored speech."

Sgt. Glenn Phillips, another department chaplain, said the chaplaincy was never meant to be a pulpit to "to further fight the government as it encroaches on religion."

"Nobody's been asked to deny their faith or anything like that," he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch."I'm a Christian, and I don't think that Jesus would look at this as necessarily a good thing."

State police spokeswoman Corinne Geller noted that the policy does not prohibit chaplains from making religious references at private ceremonies or in individual counseling.

Emphasizing that the policy change is not aimed at Christianity, she said the department has not received any complaints about religious references.

Virginia General Assembly Delegate Charles W. Carrico, a former state trooper, is protesting the decision.

"You don't check your religious beliefs at the door just because you're hired by the state and are a member of the department," he said, characterizing the decision as the "separation of Jesus and state."

"What we have here is an attack on the name of Jesus, on the name of Christ. And I'm not going to sit back and just let it happen," Carrico continued, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.

Carrico stated he intends to introduce legislation to address the issue.


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
17

Liturgical Calendar

April 17, 2014

Holy Thursday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Jn 13:1-15

Gospel
Date
04/17/14
04/16/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Ex 12:1-8, 11-14
Second Reading:: 1 Cor 11:23-26
Gospel:: Jn 13:1-15

Homily of the Day

Jn 13:1-15

Homily
Date
04/17/14
04/16/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: